Love Lane Clowns Sing for Marty

Love Lane Clowns Sing for Marty

by Ben Shepard

Thursday, December 16th, at 9:30am, the "Love Your Lane" cyclist clowns from the environmental organization Time's Up! came to Brooklyn Borough Hall dressed in holiday- and festive-colored costumes.The clowns were ready to recruit.After Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitz' clownish behavior last week at the well attended bike lane oversight hearing, the clowns hoped to invite Markowitz to join their circus.After all, his rendition of "My Favorite Things" to the City Council's Transportation Committee hearing on NYC Bike Policy, chalk full of anti-bike lane misinformation, made him an ideal candidate.

The "Love Your Lanes" clowns were also interested in adding a verse to the childhood anthem, "My Favorite Things":

When the car honks,
and trucks double park,
when we're run off the bike lane

I simply think of Prospect Park's designated bike lane
And then I don't feel so bad.

Walkers by cheered along as the clowns sang their versions of "Joy to the World" as "Bikes to the World" and "Jingle Bells" as "Prospect Lane" in homage to benefits of biking, particularly in designated two way bike lanes such as on Prospect Park West.Thier residents have shown widespread support for the lane in a recent survey taken by Council Member Brad Lander's office.Despite this support, Markowitz continues to campaign against the lane, showing little regard for the youth and the families who find the lane a safe transportation alternative for a neighborhood which recently lost a cross borough bus line, the #71 cut by MTA service cuts.Given this, it is not surprising passers-by showed so many signs of approval for the sign carried by one of the clowns, "Marty Markowitz Is Out of Touch with Brooklyn.""Today's Brooklyn supports bike lanes, healthy non-polluting transportation and biking," explained Times Up! volunteer Benjamin Shepard."Come on Marty. Bikes are hip.They are a great way to model healthy urban living in which we do our part to reduce global warming and remain healthy at the same time."

The clowns attempted to present Borough President Marty Markowitz with his holiday gift of a donated bicycle painted gold with pro-biking messages, and the word, "Oy Ve" on the handlebars.But his staff members rebuffed the effort.In addition the clowns sent Markowitz a massage that he should cease and desist his campaign against the Prospect Park Bike Lane and start to ride.Specifically, the clowns invited Markowitz to the Time Up! Love Your Lane Valentines Dance Ride scheduled for February 14th."The invitation still stands," noted Times Up! volunteer Monica Hunken.

The action was also a response to the very one sided bike oversight hearing held last week.
"Markowitz used his time last week to sing a song, rather than give any real facts to explain his opposition to the Prospect Park West Bike Lane," said Barbara Ross of Time's Up! "Meanwhile, a packed house of New Yorkers in favor of more protected bike lanes waited for hours in below-freezing weather for their turn to testify. Many didn't."By the time pro-bike speakers got to testify most of the council had left

"If Marty wants to clown around, we can too," said Ross. "His stance is not shared by most New Yorkers. Marty does his constituents no favors by lacking both knowledge and a desire to be educated on the challenges faced by pedestrians and cyclists alike."Ross noted that other officials like Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and such Council members as Brad Lander, Tish James and Gale Brewer came prepared with a both a real sense of the current situation and realistic solutions for bike policies.

"Don't be a schlemiel Marty, love your bike lanes," added Ben Shepard, a Time's Up! volunteer. "We have an obesity epidemic in this town. It can be fought with daily exercise like bicycling. Look at the cyclist who lost 30 pounds commuting to work. How can you not embrace the idea of biking, with safe and protected bike lanes, as both transportation and a model of healthy urban living?"